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I'm here to tell you about the NHS cover up of a male nurse who raped a patient in a mental health unit

(33 Posts)
GlummyMcGlummerson Wed 15-Jul-20 18:14:47

A friend sent me a link to this story last week and it’s really stayed with me - and I think given the horror and injustice of it, more people should know.

Warning: it’s very distressing.

It’s a historic case that began in the 80’s when a 21 year old woman who was sectioned in Cumbria to an NHS mental health inpatient unit after experiencing psychosis. During her time she was groomed and raped by a male nurse 14 years her senior. She became pregnant a year into her stay and the team at the hospital arranged a crisis abortion for her. it was never part of her mental health record and her family were not told. She did tell her mum everything when she was released, but her mum took no action and told no one - it seems at the time she thought things were best left alone (remember this is the 80’s attitudes were very different).

Three years later, whilst she was an inpatient in another mental health hospital, Alison committed suicide.

Her parents and siblings have spent the last 3 decades labouring for answers and justice. A lot of things have happened in that time but the essentials are that in 2001 the family asked the police to investigate the matter after uncovering evidence. But In 2002 the CPS decided not to take the case forward.

Alison’s family continued to fight and in 2015 the police reopened the investigation. More evidence was gathered, including witness statements from staff. In 2017, Alison’s rapist was questioned under caution and confessed to his crimes. He said, and I quote “I was unaware I was doing anything wrong”. ex-colleagues spoke to the police with one saying:

“It became apparent after a very short time that he was spending more time with Alison than any other patient. He had to be spoken with on more than one occasion regarding the time he spent with her. Concerns were raised and Alison was witnessed entering the Male nurse’s residence where he was living at the time....one meeting resulted in him being clearly told that his behaviour was inappropriate and the matter would be formally reported. Alison was a young female who was extremely ill and disturbed at the time. However, he continued.”

There were seemingly a lot of cover ups along the way - missing medical records, missing notes, plenty of other staff who knew including senior psychiatrists etc.

Despite the confession and supporting evidence the CPS decided not to prosecute. The family’s appeal was thrown out. Alison’s rapist has walked free. The NHS it seems have apologised to the family a couple of years ago - but no one has been held accountable for what happened to Alison.

My point in posting this here is to get word out and raise awareness that these things do happen in the trusted care of professionals. It may be a historical case but shows the poor culture of the NHS at the time and it’s important we never stop talking about these things.

The family have raised enough money and launched an appeal to have a new inquest into Alison’s death. They’re waiting on the outcome of that decision. The full story is here https://alisonsstory.wordpress.com/what-happened-in-2001/

I suppose there isn’t a lot more we can do except show support to Alison’s family and talk about these things in the vain hope people like Alison aren’t forgotten.

OP’s posts: |
OvaHere Wed 15-Jul-20 18:25:29

That's really grim. I wish I could say I was surprised but I'm not.

wellbehavedwomen Wed 15-Jul-20 18:42:31

Sadly, this is not at all unusual. The Independent were about this around the turn of the millennium, and it seems much nothing has changed since.

The argument for single sex wards for women in psychiatric hospitals - staff, as well as fellow patients - is overwhelming. But nobody cares enough to do a damn thing.

PopperUppleton Wed 15-Jul-20 18:48:01

I know someone who worked for the NHS in Cumbria and she ended up with PTSD from the bullying she got because she highlighted serious safeguarding risks. She was suicidal for a while and still has flashbacks poor thing. The Cumbria NHS covered everything up

GlummyMcGlummerson Wed 15-Jul-20 18:55:20

Thanks for the links wellbehaved - very interesting, it seems wherever women are being cared for there's abuse from men.

I agree about single sex staffing for vulnerable patients, I firmly believe that until men as a class can lower their rates of violence against women then they need to be separated from the most vulnerable ones

OP’s posts: |
PearlclutchersInc Wed 15-Jul-20 19:02:28

Given the standard of treatment that my elderly parents experienced in a Cumbrian hospital (two different years) before they died its of no surprise.

I love Cumbria but the thought of being ill and hospitalised (or not which was part of the original problem) scares me.

PineappleUpsideDownCake Wed 15-Jul-20 19:02:53

My mum is often on a mixed ward (single sex bedroom but shared.)

Every. Single. Time when younger she'd come out with a new boyfriend that is totally unsuitable for for either of them given the state they were in. And not who she would choose if well.

She is terrified of falling asleep on a shared room as you have no idea what delusions the person next to you has.

I think it is truly awful.

Thelnebriati Wed 15-Jul-20 19:03:33

The Head Of Public Participation And Engagement Olivia Butterworth blocked Jean Hatchett for talking about womens legal right to single sex wards.

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3951102-nhs-england-head-of-public-participation-tells-survivors-to-stay-in-their-lane?msgid=97821249

slipperywhensparticus Wed 15-Jul-20 19:03:57

GlummyMcGlummerson

Thanks for the links wellbehaved - very interesting, it seems wherever women are being cared for there's abuse from men.

I agree about single sex staffing for vulnerable patients, I firmly believe that until men as a class can lower their rates of violence against women then they need to be separated from the most vulnerable ones

Thats not going to happen though because in many cases you can identify as a woman and you cant exclude someone from single sex spaces simply based on the contents if their pants

Look up karen white 🤷‍♀️

GlummyMcGlummerson Wed 15-Jul-20 19:06:38

Totally agree slippery - despite all the TRA's waxing lyrical about how gender matters and not sex, I doubt these female survivors would have evaded their abuse if they'd identified out of their sex

OP’s posts: |
wellbehavedwomen Wed 15-Jul-20 19:17:54

Men should never be providing personal care to vulnerable women. Ever.

There was that case of a woman in a coma who gave birth, too. Her parents had been assured no man would ever care for her. Her parents were lied to.

Those are just cases where it was obvious. You'd need to be exceptionally naive to think most cases are just never known about at all. It's such an obvious and easy way for predators to access women unable to tell anyone what is being done to them.

In psychiatric hospitals, of course, predators can access women who won't often be believed, even if they do tell. At a time when the CPS place charges just 1.5% of the time when rapes are reported, do we honestly believe that any patient who hasn't immediately been seen by police, and DNA evidence provided to prove the claim, would see a predator charged?

It's disheartening beyond belief. These are issues where women are abused, assaulted and harmed because of our sex, even as moves are made to completely erase us as a legal class, and with it, our existing single sex provision. Single sex provision is the single largest step possible when it comes to protecting women and girls. The vast majority of sexual violence is from men. Yet we don't protect the most vulnerable women, and we're increasingly seeing all protection from sex-based violence, for all women, removed.

Welcome to Gilead, by way of "intersectional feminism."

wellbehavedwomen Wed 15-Jul-20 19:19:25

*You'd need to be exceptionally naive not to think most cases are just never known about at all.

GlummyMcGlummerson Wed 15-Jul-20 19:37:41

You've articulated that brilliantly wellbehaved

Alison's brother runs the website, I think I will drop him a message of support. I wonder if he knows of any campaigns we could officially support. Falling down a rabbit hole of research it seems this is way too common and too little justice has been brought.

Wasn't it Cumbria NHS that let an alarming number of mothers and babies die in childbirth? I'm sure there was an enquiry.

When will healthcare get better for women?!

OP’s posts: |
ContentiousOne Thu 16-Jul-20 01:21:08

They declined to prosecute an admitted rapist? Why?!

DuDuDuLangaLangaBingBong Thu 16-Jul-20 10:45:19

I haven’t formulated adequate words to respond to this but it felt wrong to read and not say anything at all.

In memory of Alison and in support of her family flowers

RoyalCorgi Thu 16-Jul-20 10:48:03

Wasn't it Cumbria NHS that let an alarming number of mothers and babies die in childbirth? I'm sure there was an enquiry.

It was Morecambe Bay - the scandal was at Furness General Hospital. Bill Kirkup did a huge report on it, but the only thing came to light because one man, James Titcombe, campaigned relentlessly for years.

blurpityblurp Thu 16-Jul-20 11:09:37

A close friend of mine was sexually assaulted by a male porter while Sectioned in mental health ward in London about five years ago. They completely gaslighted her about it.

FloralBunting Thu 16-Jul-20 11:32:26

I was raped in a mixed sex mental health unit when I was 17, by a fellow patient, who then followed me around the entire time and the staff called my 'boyfriend'.

Mixed sex provision is 100% wrong and the fact that this happened before my case, and continues to happen to this day is the most infuriating, distressing and disempowering thing in my life.

TheProdigalKittensReturn Thu 16-Jul-20 11:37:10

Men should never be providing personal care to vulnerable women. Ever.

And again, with giant bloody bells on. I'm still angry about the Almodovar film that tried to spin a case where a male nurse raped a woman who was in a coma as somehow quirky and amusing and the poor man was just a bit simple you know.

GrandmaMazur Thu 16-Jul-20 11:37:29

Floral I'm so sorry this happened to you. flowers

LOVELYDOVEY05 Thu 16-Jul-20 11:53:42

Sexual crimes are often about power . There is an element in MH of power as unlike other medical specialities patients can be detained, treated against their will etc This can and does occasionally lead to the wrong people going into the field to work. They take anybody.
In my local area I have read numerous reports about crimes in MH by staff yet you never hear such things in physical health units

FloralBunting Thu 16-Jul-20 11:59:49

Nothing will change, will it? I've talked about my experience on FWR a number of times in the past few years, usually in response to another case and nothing changes. I am crying. Again.

Thinkingabout1t Thu 16-Jul-20 12:28:04

Shameful. Given that men are a minority of nurses, they appear in a surprisingly high number of disciplinary cases.

QuarantineDream Thu 16-Jul-20 20:29:11

Reminds me of this American case from last year www.denverpost.com/2019/01/05/phoenix-woman-vegetative-state-birth-rape/

Gibbonsgibbonsgibbons Thu 16-Jul-20 20:37:08

Men should never be providing personal care to vulnerable women. Ever.
This this this and all women are vulnerable in a personal care situation.

Floral flowersflowersflowers

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